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>> lisa prude home, the manager, and her staff did a great job making room for us all. i'm dick hughes -- [applause] i'm dick hughes, i'm the loose cannon, one of the people who thought up this conspiracy to get us all together to think about agent orange and to do something about it. those two great books that were published by seven story press. the first book originally came out in 1989. it was by fred wilcox, of course, and it was about the impact agent orange had on american veterans. the second book which just is new, "scorched earth," is about
the vietnamese and the impact on vietnam. so we owe seven stories press who does so many books that nobody else would do and housing works and a few loose cannons, all our thanks. this is an important event to make a breakthrough on a horrible tragedy l of many decades, agent orange, which still persists. if you have ideas about doing something when you see the books, please, do it. after a colloquy with our guests, we will have a q&a. please wait until you get a microphone in hand. we all want to hear your question. we all want to hear your answer. thank you so much for coming, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce two very special people, noam chomsky who most of you know and others will come to know has been telling truth to power without rhetoric and just the facts, ma'am, just the
facts. old dragnet fan, for decades and is still doing it. and fred wilcox who has been out in the vineyards writing these two books, feeling the pain of knowing people directly affected by agent orange and seeing them pass away, or if they survived, to suffer terribly. so i'm going to leave it now to our two guests and then your questions. thank you for coming, i hope you can all hear, and when you step out of here, please, try to do something about people suffering from agent orange. thank you. [applause] >> okay. well, hello. thank you for all coming out this afternoon on this beautiful afternoon. my name is fred wilcox. dick hughes has done magnificent, incredible work. he's helped people suffering from agent orange, and he's
arranged this whole thing with his family, they've worked very, very hard, so i want to expression my piece for them -- my appreciation for them, my family, my children, my friends from ithaca and professor noam chomsky who's taken time out of his busy schedule to come here. thank you, noam, very much. [applause] i would just like to talk a little bit briefly, and then i'll turn it over about what i've been trying to do for about the last 30 years, and that is tell people about what i consider to be -- there are many, many tragedies, many tragedies in the world, but this is a great tragedy, and let me just begin by saying that three million vietnamese people are suffering from the effects of chemical warfare, the campaign that the united states government waged in vietnam for at least ten years. three million adults and 500,000 children, though one of the things i'd like to do today is
really dedicate this whole thing, the whole meeting today to the children, to the vietnamese children, to the children of u.s. vets, korean vets, new zealand vets, australian vets, all of these people who have fathered or women who have given birth to seriously deformed children, legless children, blind children, seriously retarded children. all the same result. as a result of having been exposed to something called tcd dioxin which was the contaminate in agent orange. and so i really don't think you can overestimate this tragedy. i don't think you can exaggerate it. i have never tried to exaggerate the tragedy because it's not necessary. it's ongoing. it's a tragedy that just doesn't seem to have any end. that is to say if you go to vietnam today, one of the things that really frightens the vietnamese people is they're seeing third and fourth and sometimes fifth generation of agent orange children. a lot of people say, well, that
war ended, it ended in 1975, i've been asked why do you keep writing about it, obsessing over it? because it hasn't ended, it hasn't ended for the children, for the vietnamese people, for the american vets who are reaching late 50s and early 60s and dying. and many, many people don't know about this, so i guess my goal has been and continues to be to tell as many people as possible as this ongoing, incredible tragedy that is a direct result of chemical warfare. noam? >> well, i mean, as all of you know, most of you know, this is the 50th anniversary almost to the day, in fact, of some very significant decisions that were made in washington, the kennedy administration, john f. kennedy and his advisers basically decided this november 1961 -- in
november 1961 to sharply escalate the war in south vietnam. which had been going on for some time. and to, essentially, turn it into a u.s. invasion of south vietnam. at that meeting, kennedy -- those meetings, kennedy authorized the u.s. air force to start bombing south vietnam. pretty soon they were, apparently, bombing, carrying out about a third of the missions under south vietnamese markings but didn't fool anybody except those who wanted to be fooled, authorized napalm, and what we're discussing here, authorized what the army called chemical warfare, defoliation it was called. the bombing then, as you all know, expanded, led to half a million american troops invading the south. the bombing within a couple of
years, by 1966, '67 the leading, one of the leading potentialists on vietnam, the military historian vietnamese scholar bernard foal in his last writing before he was killed in combat wrote that he thought that vietnam might not survive as a cultural and historical entity under the impact of the most severe bombing, severe attack ever launched against an area that size. it went on not only against south vietnam and north north vietnam -- at least where nobody was looking -- the area around hanoi was somewhat spared because there were a lot of eyes there, foreign embassies. but the south, northern part of vietnam was turned into a
moonscape, south vietnam itself may never recover. the bombing extended to northern laos which had nothing to do with the war in vietnam, mainly because it was a lot of air force planes were idle during bombing. here they virtually destroyed what amounted to a virtually stone age society, primitive society in northern laos littered with unexploded ordnance, people still dying. people were literally living in caves for several years trying to survive. i interviewed a lot of them back around 1970. then it expanded to cambodia which was actually the most intense bombing in history following henry kissinger's immortal phrase, "anything that flies against anything that moves." those were the orders handed down by kissinger from his boss
to the air force and the bombing, a brief period just a couple of years, we now know reached the level of old allied bombing in the pacific region, the entire pacific region during world war ii including the two atom bombs. all in a remote peasant, poor peasant society. a lot of consequences to that. very ugly ones. but it finally more or less ended. but it didn't end, as fred pointed out. the effects of the chemical warfare continued and will continue. the, soon turned into, very quickly turned into crop destruction, major war crimes. fred can tell you a lot her about this than i can, so i won't go on with it. just add one more word about it.
there are serious consequences to not paying attention to what we've done in the past. one of them's just moral. if we're incapable of facing up to our own history, we're in trouble morally and a serious problem. but it's also quite practical. because if you don't face up to it, you continue doing it. and, in fact, that's happening. people are dying right now from american chemical warfare, one of the many things i've done over the years is a number of visits to southern colombia to isolated, endangered peasant villages. sometimes when i go down, it's too dangerous to go even into the countryside, so they bring people into the local town to give testimonies about what's happening to them. these are people who have been subjected to some of the worst
terror anywhere. colombia now has displaced probably, i think, the second large displaced persons population in the world, i think, after afghanistan. millions of people driven off their lands. these are isolated, poor villages. last time i went, about a year ago, you know, driving with the, a truck given to us by the ombudsman's office of the region travels around, almost impassable road. along the road there's a tiny clearing on the side. stop and go out, there's just a row of simple crosses. it's a place where not long before a bus had been stopped by paramilitaries who worked very closely with the military, and everybody in it was shot. that's life.
but the worst part of life in many ways is the chemical warfare. we don't call it defoliation now, we call it fumigation. but same thing. it's lethal substances sprayed from the skies, i suppose mostly contractors by now, and you see the effects are striking. first of all, it destroys the crops -- not just opium, it destroys everything. it poisons the land. there are people -- being a coffee farmer's not easy these days, but there are people who have managed to kind of develop a niche market for organic, high-quality organic coffee that they can sell in germany and so on. that's finished because the land's poisoned, you can't grow anything more. people with horrible scars all over their arms, children dying, you know, the kind of things you
see in vietnam. and that's today, just in the last couple of years according to the attorney general's office about 140,000 people have been killed by the paramilitaries and the military, and there are other things too. but this is going on before our eyes. we regard it as our right to carry out -- pardon? >> louder. >> sorry. should have said that earlier. [laughter] we regard it as our right. it's not questioned to carry out -- >> louder! >> oh, still louder? i don't know if i can manage anything louder. [laughter] we regard it as our right. we don't question it to carry out chemical warfare in another country because they're producing something that the american government doesn't like. actually, the president of bolivia asked a pertinent question, how would we feel if
they were to carry out chemical warfare in north carolina and kentucky to destroy a crop that's far more lethal than cocaine? in fact, just take a look at the death tolls. well, it's our right, it's not their right. this goes on before our eyes, and part of the reason is a tail your to -- failure to pay attention to similar atrocities in the past. and this is not the end, by any means. just yesterday i got a letter from an ex-marine who fought in iraq, and he was -- i've known him for some years, he was part of the military force that invaded fallujah in november 2004. that was a horrible massacre. it was kind of like --
[inaudible] actually except worse in many respects. one of the respects in which it's worse is the kind of weaponry they use. there have been studies now by epidemiologists and ore scientists in the -- other scientists in the fallujah area, and it turns out the level of radiation this that area is -- in that area is actually higher than hiroshima. the letter he sent me yesterday, this young man after he got out has been devoting his life to trying to compensate for those horrors. it was a scientific article that just appeared studying hair samples of people there, and the hair samples have extremely high evidence of radiation ois softening. poisoning. and it, again, has the usual effects at the same time you described, and, you know, could be permanent. and unless we face up to these things, it's going to continue.
there's no barrier to it except entirely to the united states. nobody else can do anything about it. these are two examples, and you can add others. and american veterans suffer from it too. also the effects of heavy metals and probably depleted uranium, others that has plenty of effects on american veterans who were exposed. but, of course, as always the major, lethal effects are on the victims. and as fred said, this can go on indefinitely, even when the war is technically other. over. and even more so when we carry out operations elsewhere as we're doing right now. >> thank you, noam. i'd just like to say a couple things real fast and then open it up to questions, and that is i really like the way you brought it to now because people sometimes ask me, um, why do you talk about something that
happened so long ago? the last spray mission in vietnam was 1970. we left there, theoretically at least, in 1975. the reason why i keep talking about this is because it's a cancer epidemic in this country, many other parts of the world, and the cancer epidemic is directly related to the toxic chemicals in our air, food and water supply. i have four children, i'm sure a lot of you have children, i have grandchildren. i do not want my children or anybody's children to develop cancer. i don't want to watch them lose their hair and die slowly and painfully, beautiful children, from cancer that could be prevented. it's not a matter of waiting for the next 50 years until we come up with a pill or a treatment for cancer. it's a matter of cleaning up our environment and stopping the companies that poisoned vietnam and poisoned cambodia and other parts of -- colombia, other parts of the world for profit. they do it for profit, they do it for money. they claimed they were doing it, well, in the name of patriotism. they poisoned vietnam, they were destroying the mangrove forest
because they were doing their patriotic duty. no, they were doing it to make money. they knew what was in it, they knew it was poison, and they didn't tell the government. so one of the things that i hope i can accomplish through this book, "scorched earth," is to say, look, it's time to clean up the world, environment. it's time to clean up our environment. it isn't about something that happened 20, 30, 40 years ago, it's happening right now. we're all being exposed to these toxic chemicals, and we're all at risk. and so the tragedy in vietnam is the tragedy here and in europe and be many other places, and it's a track that i believe we can all get together and do something to prevent. people ask me what should you do? well, i would say one thing would be to call dow chemical and monsanto and say, we know. we know what you did in vietnam, we know what you're doing here, and we want you to stop it. stop lying. stop saying there's no evidence that agent orange causes cancer in human beings. the world scientific community knows that isn't true.
the world scientific community has done all the studies necessary. they know that dioxin is carcinogenic. they know that. we all know that. so with that, i just, i would like to just open the floor to questions and comments and whatever you want to say. i'd like to hear what everyone has to say. >> thank you, fred. are we on? we on? [inaudible conversations] okay. can you hear me? >> there you go. [laughter] >> so we are going to have questions and answers, and wait until we get the mic there. but i wanted to let you know we have several books up here, two by fred which are $10 apiece. bargain price. and he will sign them for you. we have one of noam's books, "9/11," and then there's also phillip jones griffith's book, a photography book which is on basic sale for $20, a gorgeous
photography book. so it's hard to beat those prices. here's the mic that lisa will get over to you. ask your question, and let's see if we can get as many in as we can. and, lisa, here's one. >> yes. thank you for your commentary. but i was just thinking as i listened because i have recently found out about the matter of fracking which is what i'm going to talk about, and i was thinking now in hearing your commentary that perhaps if people in these countries and the victims that you mentioned were seeking revenge, they would say we have found a way of doing ourselves in. because as a friend of mine said -- and if you're not familiar with fracking, i'll mention it in a minute -- fracking is not spelled
f-r-a-c-k-i-g. it's spelled suicide. it's already shown up in places like pennsylvania, we can wipe out the water supply, and that's not something you can replace. repeat, that's not something you can replace. many people live in the city don't understand that there's 13 inches of topsoil and a water supply that stand between us and what? oblivion. for those of you who don't know what fracking is, they're about to have some hearings in the delaware water gap, and that's happening october the 21st. they're trying to get people on buses if you want to find out about that, see me later. the problem is, the problem is that people are unaware of where they stand, and if you have any comment on the subject of fracking, i think the idea that it's suicide is really on the button.
[inaudible conversations] >> thank you. an honor to be here with both of you, noam in particular, a hero of mine for 30 years, thank you. so, fred, you implied unless i'm wrong toward the end of your talk that the government was unaware of the consequences or seriousness of agent orange, or did i misunderstand what you said? and if so, when did they find out, the government? >> well, that's been a controversy ever since people started talking about this. as far as i know, the chemical companies did not tell particularly the military commanders in vietnam what they knew about the effects of dioxin on laboratory animals. and in 1965, this is a memo that was in waiting for an army to die, dow chemical said, and i'm quoting: dioxin is potentially deadly to human beings.
now, i do not believe that monsanto and the rest of these wonderful corporations making lots of profits went to the united states government, the military or anybody else and said, well, we're going to sell you this, but we want you to know that it's potentially deadly to human beings, that your troops, our troops and the vietnamese people and the rest are going to be exposed to something that the chemical companies insist they did tell someone. but exactly who that someone might have been, i don't know. and i don't think they did. i don't believe it. i haven't uncovered any information to that effect. yeah. >> i think there's a -- if i can add a word. there's a concept that applies here and many other cases. it's called intentional ignorance. so, yes, you can choose to be ignorant of something which you do know about. and that applies all over the place. and there's no way the government couldn't have known this. >> well, it just doesn't make sense in terms of the profit
system, you know? [laughter] i mean, these chemical companies are telling us, the gas company's telling people what's in the fracking in the water? no, they're not. >> i mean, for example, when energy corporation supplies you with oil, do they put in a notice saying we're helping destroy the world? [laughter] no. >> right. >> but you know it, and they know it. and if we don't pay attention, it's intentional ignorance. >> are we on? can you hear? >> sort of. >> so, first of all, thank you so much from ithaca. professor chomsky, you've been a role model for me for so long, and i think, you know, when i first learned about your work, you know, we had something called the language acquisition device. and i'm wondering, you know, what the, what the plan for the
communication acquisition device is. because i think, you know, we have language, and we use it, you know, like you said, for intentional omission, you know, the note that says we're killing ourselves quickly or slowly is not included in any of our packaging right now. so how do we, you know, globally or locally communicate that to each other, and how do we unite from today on? you know, how do we help? how do we do this? >> well, it's particularly significant in the united states. you may have seen an article in "the new york times" i think maybe yesterday which reported what's a been an open secret for a long time, that the united states is simply off the planet on this issue. just about every country in some fashion or another is trying to do something about the very
serious problem of environmental -- global warming and environmental catastrophe. they're doing it in different ways. we should be, perhaps, ashamed of the fact that the country that's in the lead on this is the poorest country in south america, bolivia. they've gone to the extent of passing legislation that nature has rights, and we have to observe the rights of nature. well, you know, sophisticated westerners can laugh about this, but the last laugh's going to be on us. the poorest country in south america's taking the international lead. other countries are doing various things. we're not only not taking the lead as we should, but we're dragging it down. the united states is alone in tearing apart and restricting the very limited devices that have been available to do something about the problem.
it's pretty striking to look at congress now and see that congress is trying to dismantle legislation and institutions which were instituted by the person who was, in fact, our last liberal president, richard nixon. [laughter] that's not a joke, incidentally. i'm not saying i like him, but take a look at the legislation. [laughter] so they're tearing apart the epa, they're trying to restrict other limited environmental restrictions. and while the whole world is haltingly moving forward, we're racing backwards. and what the united states does is, of course, of enormous cig think cannes. this is far -- significance. this is far and away the richest, most powerful country in history. if we don't take the lead, nothing much is going to happen. and if we're pulling the train backwards, it's going to be bad news. so here's where the problem is.
and there are a lot of reasons for it. this is the only country that i know of at least where major centers of power are carrying out quite openly they tell us, carrying out large-scale propaganda programs to convince the population that it's all a liberal hoax. the american -- the chamber of commerce, the biggest business organization, american petroleum institute and others have made it quite public that they're carrying out these programs. well, you know, they've got a lot of people confused. if you take a look at the way the media handle it, it's kind of a he says/she says thing. like on one side you've got, you know, 99% of serious scientists, on the the other hand you have jim inhofe or somebody else. we've got to sort of work it out for ourselves.
well, you know, individuals can't work it out for themselves. and there's a kind of a background of distrust for reason and science which is itself very lethal. i mean, you shouldn't worship science. you could make mistakes and do awful things. but still it makes sense to study things seriously and carefully. and it's a serious cultural and institutional problem here which has to be dealt with in a sort of a fundamental way. so how do we communicate it? i mean, study of language can't tell you anything about that. but people have to be out there trying to get others to understand what's really happening to our society and do you want your grandchildren to have a decent world to live in, or is it better for the petroleum companies to make more profit today, and they'll have an environment in which you can't survive?
those are real choices. fracking is a case in point. the fracking is actually a dual problem. one problem is what this speaker over here mentioned. there's a short -- direct problem, say, of destroying water resources and land and so on. but there's a longer term problem of increasing the use of fossil fuels no matter how you get 'em which is going to have a lethal effect on human society. in fact, all living things. >> yes. i just want to thank mr. chomsky for coming, and, um, i just really wanted to talk about south american countries, how the economy's being affected and how the dictatorships were, um, planned out in the united states and sent over there so that they can distribute democracy in a way. so in a way it's all part of a
conspiracy. they can control south american countries. but i want to talk about, um, what do you think about, um, the international monetary fund? is it a fraud to control the economy of the southern, um, american countries? >> is it a -- i didn't get the last part. >> [inaudible] >> is it a fraud? certainly not a fraud. it's very effective. >> yeah, right. is it a scam? >> what? >> is it a scam, the international monetary fund? >> a scale? many. >> scam. >> no, it's not a scam. you know, they do their work. in fact, they're basically an offshoot of the u.s. treasury. i mean, it's not literally true, but the u.s. treasury has an enormous amount of control in what they do, and there are the same programs that are kind of turning the united states into a sort of a third world society are applied much more forcefully
in weaker countries and having terrible effects. so the international monetary fund has over the past several decades been pressing very hard. the so-called neoliberal programs which have been a social and economic disaster almost everywhere. now, not for everyone. take, say, egypt which is right on the front pages. part of the source of the uprising in egypt's gone on for a long time. but peaking because of the disastrous effects of imf structural adjustment programs which have increased but kind of the way they do here with wealth going into very few pockets. and most of the population suffering. and that's been true in place after place. i mean, latin america went as long as accepting these programs went through several decades of
sharp decline, economic decline. it's now cast out the programs, and there's a lot of quite successful growth. we see the same thing here. we've been through it, i mean, it's not as rigid here as it is in poor countries, but -- and, of course, the wealthy protect themselves. but it's part of the, it's part of the reason why over the past, essentially, 30 years that the u.s. has become, has been in a kind of a vicious cycle of sharp concentration of wealth, really in one-tenth of 1% of the population. that's hedge fund managers and ceos and so on who don't do anything constructive for the society. in fact, they probably harm it, or the economy but gain enormous wealth. and with that comes political power, and that makes it possible to accelerate the
cycle. so we have the situation in which we are in the richest country in the world with, you know, 30 years of pretty much stagnation or decline in incomes for the majority of the population while a small, tiny group is getting fabulously wealthy, and the country is seriously declining. so, but now i should say about the imf that more than the other global institutions they've become, begun to recognize this. in fact, it's kind of striking that the imf, chief economists have been criticizing europe for carrying out the kind of policies that they've advocated. europe's if a, you know, recession, and it's carrying out austerity policies which is the worst possible thing to do in a
recession. and the imf has actually counseled them not to do that and to turn towards trying to stimulate the economy which we should be doing too. so it's not a pretty story, but, you know, they're not just devils, and they're coming out of a background tradition which is rooted right here mostly in economic planning and economic policies which have had pretty ugly consequences over decades. the countries that have been casting them aside and pulling themselves out of it are sometimes beginning to prosper. that's one of the reasons why latin america has had a substantial improvement over the past decade. also moves towards independence that's significant. but it's not a scam by any means. [laughter] >> i'd like to say before anymore questions if you haven't been down to wall street, the occupy wall street, please, go
down and say hello to these people. [cheers and applause] to me, it's really inspiring. i was down there the other day, and what wonderful people. i think we should all just support them in every way we can. [inaudible conversations] >> hello? >> [inaudible] >> i think you better wait for, wait for a mic. >> yeah. >> i have a question. >> so i have a question -- >> we have to get the mics. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, okay. >> the ways that we continue to fight our wars, um, have pretty devastating effects for the countries that we are fighting with or occupying as well as on, you know, members of the military that are coming home. of so i'm wondering if you can speak a bit about what lessons we should take away from, you know, what you know about the struggle for justice with agent orange, both to the members of the military and people in vietnam, and what lessons can we take away from that for those of us that want to make sure that there is justice for those that
are returning and are sick in so many different ways or for the people that are suffering in all the nations we are fighting with? >> i think that's an important question because one of the things, problems with talking about agent orange vietnam veterans is people somehow assume that's new. it's the first time we've ever mistreated veterans, we've ever ignored them, we've ever failed to take them seriously, and it isn't. that's part of american history. we send people off to war pounding the drums, waving the flags, and when they come home we say, oh, i don't recognize you, i really don't know you. but to just say it's too bad about the vietnam veterans, they got hurt, we didn't help them, but we're doing a better job, my own argument is -- and i come from a working class, poor family. people joined the military because it's a job, and it's a way of getting out of poverty. but on the other hand, i won't encourage anybody to join the military until the military decides to treat people with respect and decency after they come home from the killing zone. [applause]
>> [inaudible] >> are we on? hello? very sorry, but professor chomsky has an appointment that he's almost -- already a little bit late for at columbia, and we have to get him up there. i was going to mention that the books that are here for sale we donated them to housing works. so any books that you purchase even at this low price, all the proceeds will go to housing works. [applause] so we're -- [applause] serving two purposes, and if you can afford to do it, we would much appreciate it. our apologies for those who didn't get their questions in, but thank you so much for coming out, and our thanks again to noam chomsky and fred wilcox. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv?
send us an e-mail at email@example.com or tweet us at twitter.com/booktv. >> uncompromised is the name of the book, nada prouty is the author, the rise, fall and redemption of an arab-american patriot in the cia. first of all, nada prouty, when and how did you serve in the cia? >> well, i originally started working for the fbi as a special agent, and i worked with them for a little less than five years, and i there ared from the fbi -- transferred from the fbi starting in 2003. i worked a number of high-profile cases such as the uss cole, the bombing in riyadh, the complex bombing, the assassination and murder of the u.s. diplomat in 2002. and i was exposed to working with cia officers overseas, and i -- they valued the cultural and linguistic abilities, and i transferred from the fbi to the
cia, and i was dispatched immediately to work in baghdad. so i was involved in the hunt for saddam hussein. obviously, that was a successful operation. but i detail a lot of other cases that i worked for for the cia. >> how long were you with the cia? when did you leave? >> for a little less than five years, a little less than ten years total government service. >> the subtitle of your new book, uncompromised, is "the raise, fall and redemption." why in that recorder? order? >> because my career had skyrocketed. i was being assigned cases that senior agents with experience, and same thing, i was given a lot of missions that i needed to accomplish that were extremely hard missions, and they're detailed in the book. but then after i returned from baghdad, i was accused -- falsely accused, i should say -- of being a terrorist, at the border of -- a supporter of
terrorism. eventually, i was exonerated, and i'm here today telling my story. >> tell us very quickly about that accusation. >> well, it involved the terrorist group hezbollah, and the fbi had thought that i looked into documents relating to hezbollah and passed intelligence to hezbollah. obviously, that wasn't true. the evidence against me was labeled secret, and i wasn't, the evidence was not shared with me. but the cia conducted an investigation, and a federal judge, and they both exonerated me publicly. >> were you arrested? >> no, i was not. i pled guilty to charges because i was threatened. basically, it was a death threat. the government had said they were going to deport me to lebanon and announce to the lebanese government that i worked for the fb, and i the cia, and that's basically a death threat. so i pled guilty to these false charges. >> do you detail that all in "uncompromised"? >> i sure do. i describe a number of the cia
missions, a number of fbi cases, i was involve inside three renditions for the fbi, and i describe the circumstances around the false accusations and, finally, the exoneration. >> nada prouty, as an arab-american woman in the cia did you face spichtions that maybe a white male would not? >> well, given my language skills, given my looks and cultural background, i was given missions to get out of the green zone and collect intelligence. i was disguised with a bar ya under which were my weapons, and i was able to collect intelligence that others may not have been able to. but, again, i discuss these cases in the book, and i hope you get a chance to read it. >> did the cia have to vet your book? >> yes. i had to submit my manuscript to the cia, and they had to approve it. >> why did you leave the cia? >> it was part of the plea deal,
unfortunately. when people ask me all the time would you ever go back to government service, and i tell them the same thing. i am live proof that the justice system works because the truth was told in the end. and i'm happy to have served my country, and i will serve my country again at the drop of a dime. this is not a pessimistic -- this is, for me, this is an optimistic story. in any other country had i been accused of these horrendous charges, i would have been executed. only in america do you get the chance to tell your story and know that justice prevails in the end and know that the truth always comes out. >> this is booktv on c-span2. we've been talking with nada prouty, former cia agent and author of this book published by palgrave macmillan, "uncompromised: the rise, fall and redemption of an arab-american patriot in the cia." >> here's a look at some books that are being published this week.
>> look for these titles in bookstores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv. >> next, margie raz talks about what it takes to be a successful publisher and the lessons she's learned from the numerous best-selling female authors she's worked with. it's about 45 minutes. knox o knox. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone. welcome to the conservative women's network. those of you here in washington and all of you out all around the world watching this on c-span tv, i want to welcome you all to the november conservative women's network. i amey chel easton, president of the clare boothe luce policy institute, and i'm delighted to be here with bridget wagner, our partner for many, many years from the heritage foundation in their beautiful room here. we put on conservative women's
network together every month for almost ten years, and what a treat it is to work with you all. now, before i mention our speaker and introduce her, i want to mention a little something special that happens next month. those of you who have been coming for a while know that we have a tradition in december, and we have a special, a different kind of speaker. you know, conservative women's network exists to promote our great conservative women leaders. but once a year around christmas we have a special guest, a distinguished gentleman who is a leader in the conservative movement. so i wanted to let you know that in december on the 8th we are going to have from the great state of south carolina senator jim demint. not a token, a special guest for next month. now, it truly is an honor for me to introduce this month's speaker, marji ross, who is here to discuss seven surprising secrets of best-selling female
authors. marji is a leader among leaders in the conservative movement and one of the most respected, visible and quoted publishers in the book business. her advice and counsel is valued by many of the most celebrated, powerful and recognizable names in america. marji serves as the president of the conservative book publishing house regnery, and she's the only person outside of the regnery family ever to hold that title. under her strong leadership over the past 12 years, the company has placed 48 of its books on the new york times bestseller list, an enviable feat in the competitive world of publishing. recent bestsellers have included "courting disaster" by mark three seven and "culture of corruption" by michelle malkin. regnery, by far, has the highest batting average of new york times bestsellers published per title, published by any publisher.
marji graduated from dartmouth with a ba in english, and she earned her master's in journalism from american university. she's married, has three bright and beautiful daughters, two are in college and one is in high school. in 2005 the clare boothe luce policy institute presented marji with our woman of the year award, and we're also blessed to have marji as a member of our board of directors. please, join me in welcoming marji ross. [applause] >> thank you. well, it's delightful to be here with all of you today. thank you very much. thank you, michelle and bridget, for hosting and, as michelle said, it's a wonderful thick for this partnership -- thing for this partnership between claire booth clare boothe luce and the heritage foundation to be bringing together conservative women every month. it's a terrific opportunity for all of us to get together. and i'm delighted to be here.
um, and i'm so happy to see so many smart, young, confident conservative women in the audience today. it gives me hope for the future of the country. um, and, in fact, that's part of what i want to talk the you about today, the future of the country. and the important role that i think all of us -- and i mean everyone here in the auditorium today -- the important role we have to play in that and along the way i'm going to, hopefully, share with you some food for thought on how to navigate the world of politics and publishing and business and family successfully. and we'll talk a little bit about that word, "success," and what it might actually mean in the context of your career and your family and your future. but first, i probably should explain what i'm doing up here talking about the future of the
country, and, um, how i purport to know something about success and family. so let me tell you just a little bit about myself. i'm margie raz, president and publisher of regnery publishing which is, as many of you know, the leading publisher of conservative books in the country. we have been for 65 years when the company was started in chicago in 1947. um, started by henry regnery, moved to d.c. in the mid '80s and taken over by al regnery, um, and in those early years regnery published some of the seminal works of conservative book publishing, many of which i'm sure you know and i hope you've read including william f. buckley's "god and man at yale," russ l kirk's "the conservative mind." in 1993 regnery was acquired by eagle publishing, and since then the regnery/eagle team has built
on regnery's tremendous foundation to become a powerhouse of conservative political best zellers. -- bestsellers. i joined the company in 1999, and in the past dozen years we've published a lot of bestsellers, as you've heard, but i'll tell you whom we've published. we've published most of the most influential conservative writers in the country. we've published ann coulter, michelle malkin, mark levin, mark stein, david limbaugh, dinesh d'souza, laura ingraham, ted nugent and, of course, william f. buckley jr. to name just a few. we've also published many of the most thoughtful and articulate conservative politicians of the last decade including newt gingrich, bobby jindal, mitt romney, mike lee, denny hastert, george allen, j.d. hayworth and many more. and, of course, i can't forget a
handful of books which arguably changed the course of history regnery published. i'm thinking of bernie goldberg's "bias." gary aldrich's "unlimited access," and john o'neill's "unfit for command" which, arguably, changed the course of an election. and all of which, by the way, were number one on the new "thek times" bestseller list. next month we're adding another powerhouse figure to the list of hopefully best-selling authors, and that's donald trump. we're publishing a book by donald trump called "time to get tough." so, um, i'd love to say that it is the brilliant strategic work of the regnery team that's made us so successful and, of course, that is a factor. um, but in the past 12 years just as important is that the, um, in addition to being good at what we do, um, i think since
1999 maybe at that point in our lives conservative media was at something of a tipping point. um, rush limbaugh, fox news, matt drudge, all of those were just beginning to gather steam and approach critical maas in the -- mass in the late '90s. so at regnery what we did was we leveraged that explosion of conservative media and what we were trying to do and have tried to do since is to find, shape, promote the best conservative books in the country so that they would be successful. and in this case that means not only that we could sell millions of copies of books, but also that we would have an impact on the national discourse. um, i tell you all of this not to blow our own horn, but to remind you that a book publisher -- especially a successful book publisher -- is a megaphone. we insure that authors like
donald trump and newt gingrich and michelle malkin, um, can leverage their already high profile to really make a lasting impression on millions of americans. and i think we also help thoselesser known -- those lesser known authors, men and women, who are not yet household names to reach a much broader audience. um, and i'm often reminded that when you hold a megaphone, you have a special responsibility. um, i remind you of an iconic megaphone moment when with george w. bush was standing on the rubble of the world trade center, and what did he say? he said, i can hear you. that was a fascinating thing. he recognized, um, what good book publishers, i think, recognize and good business people and, certainly, women recognize that when you have a megaphone, you have to be a good listener. so i've tried to be a good listener and pay attention to
the lessons i've learned from the many authors and businesswomen that i have had the privilege to work with over the years. and be, um, and i've learned some very interesting things about politics and business, about what is effective and what is ephemeral and about the many faces of success. so i'll try to share some of those with you. and, you know, as i was preparing for this speech and gathering my notes, i reflected on what makes regnery successful and how some of those lessons might be useful to you. i also began to consider some of the unique lessons that i have learned from the female authors and businesswomen that i've worked with and how their approach to work and to life has shaped my own definition of success. so let me start with a few minutes sharing with you some of regnery's success secrets that i think you might find useful.
so here's our first secret for successful publishing. and, um, and i would assert that this is a secret that is applicable to all communications, and we are all communicators whether you are a parent or a teacher, whether you are working on your church or your business or your community boards, whether you're a public speaker or just part of a group. um, we all have to be effective communicators. and the secret, i think, for regnery that i would share with you is that we start with one question: who is this for and why do they care? and i think if you ask that question before you write a speech, before you write a letter, before you write a memo and before you think about a communication that you're going of to have that's important to you, ask yourself who is this for and why do they care.
second secret that i'll share with you from regnery is, um, that we have been very successful because we don't try to be all things to all people. we stick to our knitting. we are experts in publishing books for the conservative audience. we publish conservative political nonfiction. and that clarity, i think, helps us be very successful, and i recommend that, um, in your lives find what you're good at and do that. um, it will be not only making you more successful, but something we'll talk about in a few minutes, i think leading to greater happiness. um, and the third lesson for me to share with you from regnery is, um, something i call hunt where the ducks are. and this is based on a story from thomas stanley who wrote "the millionaire next door." and he had this wonderful story about a duck-hunting convention.
and, um, the duck hunters all got together once a year for this great convention, and so one evening at the convention they were all sitting in the lobby of the hotel, um, having a drink and sharing stories. and one duck hunter came in from outside, and he was carrying this huge bag of ducks that he had shot. and the other hunters said, wow, tom, how did you get so many ducks? that's terrific, that's really amazing. you must be a great hunter. and he said, well, while you guys were all spending time with the duck hunters, i was spending time with the ducks. and the moral of this story for us is we spend a lot of time with our market. i spend a lot more time with conservatives than with book publishers. and, um, i think that's a distinction between how we approach our business and how a lot of others approach their business. um, so those are a few secrets from the regnery tool box not specific to